[WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

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[WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Eljimberino » Thu 12 Jul, 2018 3:13 pm

Hi All,

I put this on my blog but I'll paste my idea here as well to see if anyone is interested in scoping these walks out together.

Been out walking for the last couple of weeks. Had the urge to fly somewhere… somewhere over east or overseas to go walking, and walking, and more walking. And then, as walking will do, I had a different angle and a different idea to pursue. More walks in the south west of Western Australia. I drew up this mud-map that someone might find useful one day.

The image shown is indicative. The black line is the Bibbulmun Track. The red line on the left is the Cape to Cape. The other lines are walk ideas I’m hoping to scope out over the next twelve months. In my opinion, there is a strong desire to boost walking infrastructure at regional levels.

There has almost always been talk of extending the Bibbulmun to Esperance. The red line going to Esperance is there to show that extension. I’m going to see who I can rustle up to walk that with me. (I’m not a fan of coastal and/or beach walking, so I’ll be looking to get off the beach as much as possible.)

A circuit from about Walpole heading up the Shannon River and then heading east over the Stirling range and then following one of the rivers down (Palingup?) to a small town like Wellstead to link back up with the extended Bibb track to Esperance. Walkers can then walk back to Albany if they want.

Extending the southern end of the Cape to Cape to join the Bibbulmun track, probably at Karri Valley resort.

Extending the northern end of the Cape of Cape following a disused rail line into the Ferguson Valley and then up to meet the Collie River at Birkup, from Birkup follow the Collie River to the Wellington Dam and join the Wellington Spur trail that already comes off the Bibbulmun track. [The latter part of this walk I have done three times now and it is excellent]

Extend the northern end of the Bibbulmun track from Kalamunda and connect up with the old walking track that goes to New Norcia via Bells Rapids. From New Norcia follow the Moore River to the coast. Huts along here would be good.

Create a loop from North Bannister where the Bibbulmun crosses Albany Highway and take walkers out to Narrogin where the Avon River starts. Follow the Avon river through York, Northam and Toodyay and ultimately meet up with the extended Bibbulmun track from Kalamunda.


If anyone out there finds this post and is inspired, please get in touch. I am always interested to hear from other walkers.

Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 6.09.41 pm.png
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Donovan » Fri 13 Jul, 2018 11:01 am

Hi JP,

Interesting ideas there. I've been thinking a fair bit about where more trails can be built in WA as well.

While the idea of a Albany to Esperance extensions sounds good, I've come to the conclusion that the walk would be highly compromised due to the difficulty of finding a suitable route through that area. Straight through Fitzgerald River NP is unlikely as it was knocked back by the EPA when they were going to build a multi-day right through the park, and there are other sections like Two People's Bay that are off limits too. There are also a lot of rural properties in the way. I feel like such an extension also waters down the Perth to Albany neatness of the walk.

Same problem with cutting across to the Porongurups - it is baically surrounded by farmland on all sides. And would be kilometres of pretty boring walking just to get there, and then there are restrictions because of Dieback.

I am intrigued by the idea of linking Cape Leeuwin through to the Bibb down the coast though. An area that seems ripe for walk trails but has none is D'Entrecasteaux National Park apart from the bit of the Bibb at Lake Maringup. It would be great to see something through there - either a Bibb spur, a linking trails as you suggest or its own small walk.

Personally, I'd like to see more multidays in the 2-6 day range that are self-contained (ie not linked to the Bibb or Cape to Cape) so that they have their own character, and preferably in other regions of WA than the South West. We should have a Kimberley multiday or a Pilbara multiday and more!
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Redtail » Fri 13 Jul, 2018 1:24 pm

There is quite a bit happening in this space. May I suggest you get in touch with Dave Osborne, president and exec officer of Bushwalking WA. Here's the web page http://www.bushwalkingwa.org.au/. Take a look at the news section on the right-hand panel, and you'll see what I mean.

Especially this: http://www.bushwalkingwa.org.au/book-project-2018.html
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Eljimberino » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 1:05 pm

Hi, thanks for your replies.

At this stage I'm more into exploring every idea rather than ruling anything out.
Boredom is a state of mind not reliant on the landscape.

Landscapes can be built around walks as readily as walks being built in landscapes. Walks alter the values we hold to place.

I've emailed Bushwalking WA about documenting their short walks as I can see the value in getting short walks established.

At the moment I keen to build websites that document all walks carried out.

Cheers
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Gunner55 » Fri 27 Jul, 2018 10:12 pm

Further to one aspect of this topic, I have been set the challenge by a friend (maybe soon to be ex-friend?) of walking pretty much along the coast from Augusta to Walpole. ANy suggestions re existing tracks, river crossings to be aware of, potentials for fresh water and food drops, existing tracks to leverage (other than beach, beach, beach, and joining up with Bibbulmun at Mandalay beach) would be very welcome as I scope this out. Cheers

And on another note further to this, a few years back when camping at Pt Anne in Fitz River NP there was a track under devp, just behind the dunes or on top of them, east from Pt Anne for about 10-15kms that was actually great - but not officially opened. Still can't see if that has become a formal track yet, and would assume it would be continued all the way over to Hopetoun...any word on that??
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Eljimberino » Sun 09 Sep, 2018 4:23 pm

Hi Gunner - yes the Fitz walk is well know. There was going to be a walk from Bremer to Hopetoun, but it never got officiated.

Let us know how your walk from Augusta to Mandalay goes.. There should be plenty of water and a filter should be enough to get you by.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby GraemeSpedding » Sun 16 Sep, 2018 10:09 am

[quote="Gunner55"]Further to one aspect of this topic, I have been set the challenge by a friend (maybe soon to be ex-friend?) of walking pretty much along the coast from Augusta to Walpole. ANy suggestions re existing tracks, river crossings to be aware of, potentials for fresh water and food drops, existing tracks to leverage (other than beach, beach, beach, and joining up with Bibbulmun at Mandalay beach) would be very welcome as I scope this out. Cheers

...if you get as far as mandalay, there is a coastal route to the old original lost beach,avoiding the bubblegum track and the heading part way up and around mt Hopkins to boggy lake and then on thru the scrub to a mapped creek, down to the coast and then along to circus beach.
From here you can get GARY Muir to pick you up in the naughty lass and float you over to Walpole.
Good luck with the coast from Augusta.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby 10001110101 » Tue 18 Sep, 2018 9:06 pm

Donovan wrote:
Personally, I'd like to see more multidays in the 2-6 day range that are self-contained (ie not linked to the Bibb or Cape to Cape) so that they have their own character, and preferably in other regions of WA than the South West. We should have a Kimberley multiday or a Pilbara multiday and more!

I couldn't agree more. I'd also like to see some closer to Perth. John Forrest, Walygunga, Avon Valley and other national parks and state forests in that area all have some great walks, but it'd be nice to see some of them extended to overnighters, or linked up if at all possible to make multi-day options.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby north-north-west » Wed 19 Sep, 2018 10:33 am

Donovan wrote:Personally, I'd like to see more multidays in the 2-6 day range that are self-contained (ie not linked to the Bibb or Cape to Cape) so that they have their own character, and preferably in other regions of WA than the South West. We should have a Kimberley multiday or a Pilbara multiday and more!


Oh yes. There are some wonderful off-track options in both regions, but something for those who prefer not to have to navigate for themselves wouldn't hurt.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Thu 10 Sep, 2020 12:08 am

Not quite on topic but....

Walking the south coast from Augusta to Mandalay Beach then along the Bibbulmun Track to Walpole looks potentially feasible. I am scoping it out myself for a future adventure. The terrain itself is not very difficult; the big problem is the lack of surface fresh water.

On satellite view there are lots of long stretches of sandy beach walking and some mostly shortish stretches of limestone cliff tops to be walked.

Total walking distance is about 190km, which would probably take 9-10 days. The final 26 kilometres or so from Mandalay Beach to Walpole is along the Bibbulmuan Track. There is also about 4.5 km of coastal track walking along the way at Point D'Entrecasteaux. So about 160kmof the traverse is off track, with the vast majority of that distance being along beaches. In some places near the limestone cliffs the beaches are only quite narrow, so you may need to wait for low tide there.

At the Augusta start of the coastal traverse you'd either have to arrange for a boat or find a friendly fisherman to drop you from Augusta across the mouth of the Blackwood River, or else do a long taxi trip via Alexandra Bridge to East Augusta. It would be best to walk west to east to keep the prevailing southwesterly winds behind you.

At the 54km mark is the Donelly River. That may have fresh water if you follow it inland a bit.

At the 74 kilometre mark and 81km mark are two creeks that cross Yaegarup Beach. These also look good candidates for fresh water if you follow them inland a bit.

At the 92 kilometre mark is Salt Springs Creek. It's name seems rather dubious for its prospects of being drinkable.

At the 106 kilometre mark, Windy Harbour is the only settlement along this stretch of coastline. The Parks WA site says there is drinking water at the campsite there and a small kiosk.

At the 127km mark Broke Inlet is usually crossed at the beach sandbar. Broke Inlet itself is salty and I don't recall seeing any creeks nearby on a previous kayaking visit there. There are no other major river/creek crossings along the way (Deep River is crossed by a suspension bridge).

I don't know if there is water available at Banksia Campground, which is about 3km west of Mandalay Beach. Otherwise the next water would presumably be at Long Point campsite on the Bibbulmun Track to the east of Mandalay Beach (Mandalay Beach itself is at about the 157km mark).

At about the 177km mark there is a small freshwater creek on the Bibbulmun Track shortly before the Deep River suspension bridge.

Elsewhere the major problem will be finding fresh water due to the sand/limestone nature of the coast. I doubt the coastal traverse would be feasible for that reason in Summer or Autumn. The area is unpleasantly cold and wet and windy in Winter so early Spring would probably be the best time to attempt it. I expect you would need to carry about 3-4 days water supply for most of the duration of the trip until you have reached the Bibbulmun Track capsite near Long Point.

TransWA bus services run from Perth to Augusta and from Walpole to Perth. Or you could resupply at Walpole and then do the Bibbulmun Track from Walpole to Albany.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Fri 09 Oct, 2020 7:26 pm

Did a scouting trip recently. Edit to my previous post; the Donnelly River at the 54km mark would not be potable as it passes through pastureland higher up. The creek at the 74km mark is actually the Warren River which is also not potable (too salty). The smaller creek at the 81km mark is Manjimup Creek. This may be potable. Would definitely carry a water filter though. Finding water does really seem to be a major problem if attempting to traverse this section of coast. The wildflowers atop the limestone cliffs are very nice in early October.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Mon 14 Dec, 2020 11:25 pm

On closer inspection, there is a small lake, Bolghinup Lake, near the coast at Black Point, 39km from Augusta. That could be a possible freshwater source. The Humpback Hollows campsite is nearby on Black Point Road but it is unclear whether there is a water tank there. Need to enquire with National Parks about that. There also appears to be some ponds 1.75km inland from the Warren River mouth that could possibly be a water source. Even so, it still looks like you'd need to carry several days of drinking water to be safe.

Further along the coast, Lower Gardner Road, just west of the Canterbury River leads inland for 1.8km to what looks like a freshwater stream. However that part of the coast is only 9km east of Windy Harbour, where you can get water from the campground anyway. Further to the east the coast passes relatively close to Moores Hut. The track from the coast to the hut is about 2.6km. Need to enquire if there is water available, though a photo does appear to show a water tank there. From Moores Hut a track seems to lead a further 5km to the freshwater Lake Maringup. From the south edge of the lake it is a further 2.3km along the track to the Bibulmun track campsite at Lake Maringup. This could be an interesting inland detour to make in any case. You could then follow the Bibbulmun until it reaches the coast again at Mandalay Beach. Or alternatively return the way you came and then resume your march eastwards along the south coast.

I hate to say it, but perhaps the easiest way to hike the south coast would be to hire a 4WD and place some water bottle dumps at strategic locations along the coast as quite a number of 4WD tracks do reach the coast. You could then carry them out with you as you walk along. A lot of driving would be required though.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Ollybolly » Sat 29 Jan, 2022 3:56 pm

Hi Farefam,
I’ve been thinking about doing the Augusta-Walpole walk for years and I reckon that 2022 is the year.
Good to see others think it could be worthwhile. It’s a special part of the world, that is mostly forgotten - aside from avid 4WD enthusiasts. Thanks for your notes. Agree that drinking water would be the biggest challenge - the uncertainty about how far between sources makes planning difficult. I imagine a food drop at Windy Harbour (2nd access) would make sense. It would mean you could carry more water and less food.
Just wondering whether you’ve done any more scoping or even on-ground investigation?
Cheers,
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Wed 08 Jun, 2022 5:48 pm

Did some more scoping on a recent Spring walk from Donnelly River mouth to Black Point. From memory Bolghinup Lake was dry. However there is tank water available at the Humpback Hollows campground and at the Stepping Stones lookout. Otherwise I did not see any fresh water anywhere along the coast. At Donnelly River if you walk inland on the west side to the shacks and ask nicely you might get some tank water from there.

I can confirm that there is a water tank at a hut at Moore's Hut inland from Coodamurrup Beach, however that is nearly a 2 hour return trip inland on a sandy soft 4WD track. I did see a small soak in the dunes, alongside the start of the 4WD track. That probably would have been fresh water but I didn't sample it.

Rather annoyingly Banksia Camp near Mandalay beach is not listed as having tank water.

A fellow I ran into at Stepping Stones suggested that you could use a small still to desalinate sea water. That would make you independent of water supply. However I expect that would require you to carry a lot of fuel. You'd need to experiment to see how much fuel was needed to provide 2-3 litres of fresh water a day.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Wed 08 Jun, 2022 6:10 pm

So to summarise, to date the only water sources along the coast that I know of between East Augusta and Walpole are:

At 36.6 kilometres is a tank at Stepping Stones lookout
At 36.9 kilometres is a tank at the toilet at Seal Cove campground
At 37.3 kilometres is a tank at Humpback Hollows campground
At 54 kilometres at Donnelly River there would be water tanks at the private shacks inland from the river mouth (a 2 kilometre detour)
At 106 kilometres There is water at the campground at Windy Harbour
At 124.4 kilometres there is a small soak beside the 4WD track at Coodamurrup Beach; could be unreliable but the tank at Moores Hut is 50 minutes walk inland each way
There is a water tank at Long Point hut on the Bibbulmun Track
At 177 kilometres there is a small freshwater creek as you approach the Deep River suspension bridge
There is a water tank at Mt Clare hut on the Bibbulmun Track

Good luck with trying to find a freshwater creek anywhere else other than perhaps in winter or early spring.

So you'd need to carry 6 litres (2 days) to get from East Augusta to Black Point, about 9 litres (3 days) to get from Black Point to Windy Harbour, about 9 to 10 litres (3 days but hilly'er) to get from Windy Harbour to Long Point and then just 2-3 litres after that.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Sat 07 Jan, 2023 2:26 pm

For those who may be interested I did some more scouting in December 2022. Some additional water sources I found were:

1) there is a freshwater tank at the small hut at Gardiner River mouth campsite
2) there is a freshwater tank at the large shelter hut at Banksia Camp campsite.
3) surprisingly there are two good creeks at the large beach to the east of Banksia Camp. These appear to be fed by springs and were still running well at the end of December.

I did not find any freshwater near the mouth of the Warren River. The large swamp that is located behind the dunes there is salt water unfortunately.

Also note that the scrub atop the cliffs to the west of Salmon Beach is very thick and would be a slow, tiring obstacle to make your way through. The cliffs west of Cliffy Head looked more open due to bushfires but due to the terrain it would still be a fairly long and slow section. You could bypass that section by going well inland using the Fishermens 4WD track but that means you would miss out on the spectacular scenery at Cliffy Head. So I now suspect that it may take more like 4 to 5 days for a strong walker to get from Windy Harbour to Long Point. Cliffy Head to Long Point can be easily done in a single day by following the Cliffy head 4WD track and the Bibbulmun track, picking up water at Banksia Camp along the way.

At the end of December the Gardiner River mouth was still open but the Warren River mouth was fully closed by a sand bar.

As I have now seen most of the best bits of the coast between East Augusta and Walpole during my various scouting visits, I suspect I may never walk the whole stretch in one go..... but it would definitely be a challenge due to the scrubby cliff top sections, the river crossings and the distances between water sources. Unless you like swimming it would probably be best to carry a lilo or very lightweight raft for the river crossings.

Looking to the future.... if a proposal was made to cut some foot tracks through the scrubby clifftop sections and strategically install a few Bibbulmun track style shelters with water tanks, this coast line would make for a truly world class walking experience. The scenery along the way is spectacular in several places, especially at Black Point to Donnelly River, Salmon Beach and the section from Cliify Head to Long Point.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Mechanic-AL » Fri 13 Jan, 2023 5:25 pm

Hey farefam,

Thats quite an extensive bit of homework you have completed. Well done !
I would have to agree with your call that the area is worthy of a world class walk.

I'm not sure why it would be necessary to start the south coast from Augusta though as there is nothing but the Blackwood River between it and East Augusta. From East Augusta were you looking at the Milyannup Coast Road (track) to the start of the Black Point 4wd track or walking somewhere closer to the coast ? That section would be a long hard grind along the beach.
With regard to beach walking it is amazing just how fast and how much the beaches can change shape down there. Not so much at this time of the year but in the Autumn or early spring after all the big winter swells it would be anyones guess if some of the beaches are still passable.
A few small rafts operating in the same way as the Prion and Bathurst Narrows dinghies could be employed at places like Wilson and Nornalup Inlets to keep it a true coastal walk. So much potential.

I recently spent a couple of days on the Cape to Cape Track and it was pretty sad to see the amount of rubbish laying around and some peoples toilet training needs serious improvement along there too. Particularly around the popular surf breaks. When I spoke to the owner of one of the walking companies his attitude was basically that they pay money to use the track so it's somebody elses responsibility to look after it. :shock: It would be a shame to encourage more walkers to the south coast if it ended up the same way as it is still mostly pristine coastline and forest all along there.

Well done again on all the research, Youve definitely got me thinking a bit harder !!
( hope your foot is on the mend too ).

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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby farefam » Thu 26 Jan, 2023 6:56 pm

Hi Mechanical-Al,

Unfortunately the foot is still bothering me. If I was doing this route along the coast I would start at East Augusta. However, if there was ever a plan to formalise this walk with dinghies, water supply shelters and a few cut tracks through the scrubby bits, it would be better to include a dinghy crossing at Augusta, since Augusta is easily accessible by bus, whereas East Augusta isn't. Similarly Walpole is the logical end point as there is a good bus service there (unless you had a dinghy crossing at Nornalup Inlet and then rejoined the Bibbulmun Track for the second time at Conspicuous Cliff beach and then had the end point at Denmark or Albany instead. There is no point constructing a walking track if people can't get to it fairly easily.

I can't say that I enjoy really long beach walk sections myself, as they can be a bit monotonous. And if the sand is soft rather than firm, it so exhausting. On the other hand it is much easier walking along a beach than it would be wandering around in the dune's behind it instead!

Agree with respect to how changeable the condition and width of the beaches can be along the south coast.

Even if I never walk the full route myself, it has been well worthwhile visiting all of the best bits as individual trips. I rate this coastline as being better than the Tarkine coast walk.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Ollybolly » Wed 27 Mar, 2024 10:48 pm

Hi all,
I’m planning to start walking Augusta - Walpole along the coast this May. Most likely it will be done in three separate trips because of work commitments, but this should also mean I can take it slow and do some exploring and documenting. If anybody has any intel in addition to the excellent notes and ideas in this forum, please let me know.
Having started researching the route I’ve discovered its even more interesting than I had realised - so many historical, archaeological and biological features. I’m really looking forward to getting out there.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Aushiker » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 10:35 am

Ollybolly wrote:Hi all,
I’m planning to start walking Augusta - Walpole along the coast this May. Most likely it will be done in three separate trips because of work commitments, but this should also mean I can take it slow and do some exploring and documenting. If anybody has any intel in addition to the excellent notes and ideas in this forum, please let me know.
Having started researching the route I’ve discovered its even more interesting than I had realised - so many historical, archaeological and biological features. I’m really looking forward to getting out there.


Sounds like it will be a great experience. I have done an eight-day walk through the Fitzgerald River National Park long before they put in the walking trails and it was a great experience. Your plans should be just as challenging and exciting.
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Aushiker » Thu 09 May, 2024 11:33 am

Esperance to Albany:

I have ridden my fat bike along the coast from Esperance to Albany. It was doable up to Bremer Bay, where I had to divert on the bitumen for a while before returning to the coast near Wellstead and then through to Cheynes Beach, where I rode the bitumen until Betty's Beach and then along the coast until I had to go out again until Middleton Beach. It would be easier walking to stick to the coast all the way, as long as one was will to go off-track.

We had a long time ago now also walked over eight days from 4 Mile Beach coming out at Toorequlip Beach. We followed the route described in Forests on Foot, which was published in 1985.

There are also two walk trails now in the Fitzgerald River National Park, the Mamang Trail and the Hakea Walk Trail
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Re: [WA] South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Postby Ollybolly » Wed 26 Jun, 2024 12:19 am

Hi all,
Just reporting that I recently returned from walking between Augusta and Windy Harbour. It was part one of my intended Augusta-Walpole D’Entracasteaux wild coast walk.
It was suitably wild and amazing. I did it with my son over 8 days. 135km of mostly firm and wide beach but some inland walking too. Many highlights, but I particularly liked the camps at Meerup River and Doggerup Creek. As predicted there isn’t much water to be found (not counting the rain!), and especially for the first half it’s advisable to carry 2-3 days water. I hope to provide a more detailed account soon.
IMG_5540.jpeg

Image: The final push. Day 8 looking east towards Pt D’Entracasteaux
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